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Columns

  • Orgullo del Norte -The doctrine of Manifest Destiny

    “Our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions. Yes, manifest destiny.”
    — John O'Sullivan, editor of the Democratic Review

    While the inhabitants of El Norte were busy tending to their crops, families and sheep, President James Polk, a Democrat, was giving his inauguration speech. On the night of his inauguration, he confided to the Secretary of the Navy that his main objective was the acquisition of California.

  • Work of Art: Linguistic tyranny

    Growing up on Railroad Avenue, the place we called “Tough Street,” presented manifold problems. Having left that barrio about 50 years ago, I still retain many quite lucid memories of that place.

  • Publisher's Note: Bands stand together

    Last weekend I went to a band concert that included my daughter and her flute. I’ve been to many such concerts through the years, since my older girl also played in the band, for all of six years, and my younger girl is now in her fourth year.

    Still, Sunday’s concert caught me by surprise.

  • Keeping Pace: Five great years at the Optic

    Five years ago I walked into the Optic with my resume in hand, knowing that the last time I wrote for a newspaper was way back in 1973. I worked as a reporter for the Torii Teller, a slick little weekly news magazine covering the Marine Corps Air Station in Iwakuni, Japan.

  • Nuestra Historia - The Romero Brothers emerge

    In the first years of his freighting business, Miguel Romero and his five sons, and other family members, made the long  journeys themselves, but soon Don Miguel was able to hire and provide for the many teamsters who would drive his  wagons along the Santa Fe Trail.  

  • Orgullo del Norte - The wild, wild West

    “We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors; we borrow it from our Children.”
    — Native American Proverb

    As a community member studied the first two panels erected across from the Spic & Span, he asked, where are the animals? Where are the bison, deer and elk? Be assured that the animals will be represented and are as much a part of our history as the people who depended on them for survival.

  • Work of Art: I just had to send this to you

    Imagine receiving a letter so eye-catching that it makes you want to send a copy to 100 friends. But wait! With postage costing $44, not to mention the price of paper, envelopes and ink, well that starts to run into money.

    The only time I succumbed to such expenditures was in 1972, when an acquaintance whom I met at a workshop in Charlottesville, Va., sent me a letter with the notation “This one really works!” with the urging that I send copies of the letter to 25 friends.

  • Publisher's Note: Love of country, community

    The national discourse, as well as a little local talk I’ve heard lately, got me to thinking about patriotism. And love of community. Let me start with our views of the U.S., then bring it on home.

  • Nuestra Historia - Don Miguel arrives, a dynasty is born

    For almost seven decades beginning in the 1860s, one family would dominate the social, financial and political landscape of Las Vegas and San Miguel County.  Their influence would be felt throughout  New Mexico, and would not end until the late 1920s.

    The sons of this Las Vegas dynasty would represent territorial New Mexico in Congress, and help ensure that New Mexico was admitted to the Union.  

  • Orgullo del Norte - The art of covering up history

    “If you tremble indignation at every injustice then you are a comrade of mine.”
    -- Ernesto “Che” Guevara

    When the Spanish conquerors of Mexico burned all the Aztec books, they were eradicating a people’s history. When the American government sent young natives to Indian schools for assimilation, they were eradicating a people’s history.

    By the same token, when you paint over a social, political, or cultural mural, you are eradicating a people’s history.